Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Ecstatic February

The Gates are one of the best things to ever happen to New York in February.

February: it may be the shortest month, but it slogs on and on. There's usually ice, slush or snow on the sidewalks, bitter winter temperature and face slapping winds. The last few Februarys have seen city-stopping blizzards that have wreaked havoc on hectic lives.

Years back, when Smartmom was enduring a depressing February, this song by Dar Williams was on repeat on the CD player in the living room. Maybe that was part of the problem. But it seemed to express so well the hopelessness and listlessness of this deep-winter month.

And February was so long that it lasted into March
And found us walking a path alone together.
You stopped and pointed and you said, "Thats a crocus,"
And I said, "Whats a crocus?" and you said, "Its a flower,"
I tried to remember, but I said, "Whats a flower?"
You said, "I still love you."

But this year the color orange seems to be everywhere. Hats. Pants, Coats, Gloves. And of course, throughout Central Park, orange curtains are blowing in the wind. The fabric dances and changes color from orange to saffron to deep yellow in the sun. Enhanced by these bright orange structures, we see our mighty park through a new frame.

The Gates are an elixir for the mid-winter doldurms, that spiritual abyss that usually sets in this time of year when everyone is sick of their down filled coats and hearts are yearning for chirping birds and the buds of spring.

This city is just so excited about this monumental pick-me-up. People are throwing parties, taking walks, meeting friends in the park. Groovy Grandma's friend threw a viewing party in her Central Park West apartment that has windows facing the park. Another friend of GG's doesn't even live near to the park, but she invited friends over for coffee and a group pilgrammage to The Gates.

These events are like Superbowl parties for the Christo-crazed.

What happens to New Yorkers when they are ecstatic in February? Nobody really knows. It's never happened before: this is an experiment in the transformative powers of art. We don't even recognize ourselves. Eyes open wide, promenading through The Gates in cold and fair weather, we're connecting with all of our senses.

What happens to New Yorkers when they are ecstatic in February?

They swoon. And the world swoons with them.


At 5:40 PM, Blogger Little Light said...

I've only seen the orange flags from the road, but somehow, I do feel exactly as you described.

At 2:53 AM, Blogger Udge said...

I'm glad you went, and more glad that you liked it. Were I the mayor (which thank God I'm not), I'd make it compulsory viewing.

Here is a satellite image of the whole of the Park on which the gates are clearly visible (2.4Mb):


At 2:55 AM, Blogger Udge said...

Well, that's interesting, the new Comments layout has a bug! The rest of that URL is unreadable. Here it is again, with an artificial linebreak in the middle.


At 9:10 AM, Blogger Savtadotty said...

Udge, that is a fabulous image. Well worth the time to download. I recommend it to all. Thanks.

At 10:32 PM, Blogger elswhere said...

I love that song!!


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